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Senior Center



These Featured Articles have appeared in recent issues of the Senior Center News.



Picture of Bill Cooper


This is the story of Bill Cooper, member of the Washington Senior Center, and his romance with quilting. I visited him high up on his 20 acre wooded, hillside aerie, and found him working on a beautiful orange, beige and white quilt meant to be a present for a member of his affectionate, far-flung family.

Now in his 90th year, Bill looks back on a life made bright and sparkling by his many and diversified interests. A retired singer(basso profundo with the Robert Shaw Chorale) he has, over the years, become expert in the arts of knitting – winning numerous blue ribbons for his finely crafted sweaters – music, basketry, gardening, commercial bee keeping – and on and on. Ninety years obviously have given him plenty of time for experimentation and exploration into the human possibilities for learning.

“So, Bill, how did you begin quilting?”.

“I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands, and when I went to Missouri in 1998, I saw a number of beautiful handmade quilts and fell in love with the craft. I brought home materials to begin my own quilting and my friend Jean Hellyer introduced me to the basic elements, lent me a wooden quilting stand, and I was off!”

“I began by making three quilted table runners, with Jean’s guidance, and went on to stitch three quilts, each more engrossing and more fun than the one before.”

Bill had been teaching knitting at the Senior Center for several years before taking up quilting. “Knitting was becoming too easy, I’ve done it for so long, it wasn’t challenging me any longer – not stretching my brain. I decided that quilting would be my next challenge.”

“One of the reasons I do quilting is because in the winter, when I’m snowed in, stuck in the house, it keeps me busy, keeps my mind active. It is creative and absorbing and I truly enjoy it.”

“When I talk to people about learning to knit, or make baskets, or stitching a quilt, they say, ‘I can’t do that.’ But they can. I’ve found out, in the course of ninety years, you can do anything in the world if you make up your mind to do it. You’ve got to keep going forward; if you stop, you don’t stand still, you just go backwards.”

By Rhoda Addison.



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